China At
A Glance

China vs U.S. Internet

Although China’s internet penetration rate is only 60%, its sheer scale means almost three times the number of internet users as the United States. In mobile payments, the gap is even wider: more people pay with their phones in China than the entire population of the U.S.

China vs U.S.
Top Players for Key Verticals

A Year of
Chinese Tech IPOs

56 Chinese TMT companies went public in 2018 with a total combined market capitalization of USD$222bn as of Jun 10, 2019.

Source: 21Finance, company filings

Major 2018 IPOs
Xiaomi produces and sells mobile phones, smartphone software, set-top boxes and related accessories worldwide. Market cap: US$35 billion.
China Tower provides telecommunication tower construction, tower maintenance, ancillary facilities management and other services. Market cap: US$47 billion.

Potential 2019 IPOs
Bytedance owns viral short video app Douyin (500 million MAU worldwide) and news aggregator Toutiao. Latest market valuation: US$76 billion.
Kuaishou is a short video app with 300 million MAU and is the primary competitor to Douyin. Latest market valuation: US$25 billion.

Top Chinese
Internet Players

Company CEO Selected Investors Listed on Market Cap/
Valuation (US$ Bn)
Tencent Pony MA Naspers, IDG Capital Partners, PCCW HKG: 0700 418
Alibaba Daniel ZHANG DST Global, GGV Capital, Goldman Sachs, SoftBank Group Corp, Temasek Holdings NYSE: BABA 416
Ant Financial Eric JING Alibaba Group, NSSF, CDIB, CCB International Private 150
Toutiao ZHANG Yiming Sequoia Capital China, SIG Asia Investments, Sina Weibo, SoftBank Private 75
Didi Chuxing CHENG Wei Matrix Partners, Tiger Global Management, SoftBank Private 56
Meituan-Dianping WANG Xing Alibaba Group, General Atlantic, Hillhouse Capital Group, Northern Light Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital China HKG: 3690 45
JD.com Richard LIU DST Global, Google, Sequoia Capital China, Tiger Global Management, Walmart NASDAQ: JD 40
Baidu Robin LI DFJ, Google, ePlanet Capital, Peninsula Capital, Integrity Partners NASDAQ: BIDU 39
Lufax Gregory D GIBB CICC, COFCO, Arbor Ventures, BlackPine Private Equity Private 39
NetEase DING Lei SoftBank Capital NASDAQ: NTES 34
Xiaomi LEI Jun DST Global, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Temasek Holdings HKG: 1810 30
Pinduoduo Colin HUANG IDG Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Tencent Holdings, Gaorong Capital, Lightspeed Capital NASDAQ: PDD 23
Tencent Music PANG Kar Shun Spotify NTSE: TME 23
WeBank Jane SUN IDG Capital, SAIF Partners, Capital Today, SIIC Investment NASDAQ: CTRP 19
Ctrip Jane SUN IDG Capital, SAIF Partners, Capital Today, SIIC Investment NASDAQ: CTRP 19
Kuaishou SU Hua Tencent Holdings Private 18
Cainiao Logistics Daniel ZHANG GIC, Khazanah Nasional, Tamaesek Holdings Private 15
JD Digits CHEN Qiangsheng JD, Sequoia Capital China, CICC, COFCO, China Taiping Insurance Private 15
iQiyi GONG Yu Baidu, Xiaomi, Providence Equity Partners, Sequoia Capital NASDAQ: IQ 13
Bitmain Technologies WANG Haichao Coatue Management, Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital Private 12

Source: Crunchbase, CBinsights, company filings, avcj, Caixin, Reuters, hurun. As of Jun 10, 2019

Top Chinese Startup Exits (IPO)
(Jan 2018 - Jun 2019)

Company CEO/Founder Listed on Market Cap/
Valuation (US$ Bn)
Meituan-Dianping WANG Xing HKG: 3690 45.1
China Tower TONG Jilu HKG: 788 44.0
Xiaomi LEI Jun HKG: 1810 29.8
Pinduoduo Colin HUANG NASDAQ : PDD 23.5
Tencent Music PANG Kar Shun NTSE: TME 23.4
iQiyi GONG Yu NASDAQ: IQ 13.2
Bilibili CHEN Rui NASDAQ: BILI 4.9
Ping An Healthcare WANG Tao HKG: 1833 4.9
Luckin Coffee QIAN Zhiya NASDAQ: LK 4.3
Nio William LI NYSE: NIO 2.8

Source: 21caijing, company filings. As of Jun 10, 2019

Most Active
VC Firms in China

Number of investments in China in 2018

Source: itjuzi


The Chinese tech giants known as BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have built ecosystems while challengers TMD (Toutiao, Meituan-Dianping, Didi) are strengthening their core businesses.

Source: company filings, itjuzi

Looking back
at 2018

We identified four overarching themes last year. Here’s why they’re still relevant today.


Source: IT Juzi, CNNIC, China National Bureau of Statistics, QuestMobile, 01caijing.com

Top trends
for 2019

1. China’s ‘Copycat’ Tech Industry
Is Now Being Copied

Global technology companies are now replicating successful concepts from their Chinese counterparts, from the super app to social+ ecommerce to short video.

China has pioneered the super app, a one-stop shop for services from shopping to ride hailing to money transfers to flight bookings.

Social + Ecommerce

China’s online shopping giants and startups have pioneered concepts such as group buying and live streaming.

Short video

TikTok, the short video app from Chinese company ByteDance, has taken the world by storm, being the most downloaded app on the iOS App Store for five consecutive quarters. While players like Vine pioneered this format back in 2012, Chinese companies have been the first to turn the short video concept into a success.

2. China is Racing
Ahead With 5G

China regards next-generation 5G networks – which offer faster data rates, reduced latency, energy savings, cost reductions, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity – as a chance to get out in front for the first time.

The fifth generation of mobile technology means more than just faster data speeds and greater network capacity. It also provides a foundation for connecting an unlimited number of machines to one another for day-to-day communication. A 5G network will support: a million connected devices per square kilometre; transmitting a package of data with a delay of just 1 millisecond and peak data download speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second.


China’s three telecoms operators are piloting 5G in more than a dozen cities with a total population of 167 million


The Race to 5G

China is best positioned to win the global race to roll out 5G mobile infrastructure, according to several research firms. Almost 60% of China’s estimated technology spending of US$256 billion in 2019 will be allocated to telecommunications, according on Forrester Research findings.

5G plan by country

China India SE Asia South Korea Japan UK US
Started trials in more than a dozen major cities
Expands 5G networks and issues licenses
Launches 5G services for six celebrities
Vodafone aims to offer 5G in 19 cities by year end
Launches 5G network in two cities
Targets commercial launch with coverage in large-and-mid-sized cities
Expects to introduce commercial 5G
Plans to start several pilot projects
Thailand hopes to roll out 5G
Expects to introduce commercial 5G
South Korean government pledges to invest more than $26 billion to establish a full-fledged 5G environment by 2022
The combined 5G expenditure of China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom is forecast to hit a peak of 313.3 billion yuan (US$45.3 billion) in 2023
5G expected to reach 100 million mobile connections
Four Japanese carriers plan to invest a total of US$14.4 billion in 5G by 2024
5G expected to add as much as US$20 billion to the UK economy by 2024, if rolled out and adopted fast enough
Source: Forrester, IPlytics, Korea Herald, Nikkei

3. China is Using
AI on a Massive Scale

China is rolling out AI in many areas, including access control, customized recommendations, surveillance and smart city solutions.

To know more: read How 9/11 and China’s plan for blanket surveillance created a wave that CCTV camera makers Hikvision and Dahua rode to huge success

4. Social Credit Is
Becoming a Reality in China

China is creating a system, first announced in 2014, to rank all of its citizens based on their “social credit” by 2020. The system relies on a series of rewards and punishments meant to encourage people and businesses to abide by rules and to promote integrity and trustworthiness in society at large. In reality, there is no central scoring system but a patchwork of different schemes and apps with differing criteria across provinces, cities and villages. Expect to hear more about social credit in the coming year as the deadline approaches and different local governments scramble to show that they are meeting their targets.

Millions of individuals and businesses have been labeled as untrustworthy on a growing blacklist compiled by China’s courts, restricting them from a number of activities, including accessing financial markets or travelling by air and high-speed rail.

by sector

Download the full 100+ page report
for a deep dive into 11 sectors

(Ecommerce, Content & Media, Social & Messaging, Sharing Economy, 5G, AI, Autonomous Car, Smartphones, Smart Devices, Gaming, Blockchain + Fintech)

Download the FULL report of China's booming internet landscape and trends in 2019

* Stay updated on the report and what's buzzing in China's tech scene with our newsletters:

SCMP Tech Wrap - Most important tech news from China, Hong Kong and Asia

Abacus - The latest gadgets, trends and memes in China’s tech scene
By registering you agree to our Privacy Policy

© 2018 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.